The announcement that Anthony Gobert, ex Bimota WSB factory rider, will step aboard Kenny Roberts’ KR3-MK3 500 GP bike next weekend at Donnington Park is interesting for a number of reasons — not the least of which is the combination of personalities.
Gobert, the mercurial, natural talent meets the “rider of the century” Kenny Roberts.
Roberts, who, like Gobert, is not an establishment kind of guy, has been building his privateer three-cylinder 500 GP racer for four years, campaigning it for the last three. The newest version of this bike purportedly combines outstanding handling with the best power output ever from his three-cylinder design. Roberts, who worked with Yamaha for years, has flatly stated that riders and teams need an alternative to the Japanese establishment.
When Gobert throws a leg over this 255 pound, 175 horsepower machine next weekend, the ultimate, three-cylinder GP bike will meet, perhaps, the ultimate natural talent in the sport. Moreover, Gobert is at the zenith of his career (motivation wise) in that his series of “last chance rides” may be coming to an end. Gobert needs to impress, and so does Kenny Roberts with his new “MK3” version of the three-cylinder machine.
They say things happen for a reason, and Gobert’s strange journey through the top levels of championship motorcycle roadracing in the past three years have brought him to King Kenny Roberts’ door. Roberts won’t coddle Gobert, and he just might be the right mentor to get Gobert tracking towards the stardom his talent deserves.
Two rebels — both with a cause. One of them old enough to have learned how to make a career out of being a rebel. It’s only a one race deal at this point, but it could get mighty interesting.